You may have picked up that there is a new Draft Local Plan
for Sheffield currently out for consultation (until February 20th) .
It’s of interest to people who are concerned about the climate and nature
emergency because it sets a framework for land use for housing, business infrastructure
and green spaces etc. over the lifetime of the plan which will last until 2039.
(NB: the part of Sheffield that’s in the
Peak District National Park is excluded because it has its own rules).
The current plan is seriously out of date, and this has led
to problems over the use of land for (eg) housing. This existing plan was also
written before the requirements of the 2008 Climate Change Act came in to play
so significantly underplays the need to create a zero-carbon city with nature
protected and in recovery. The new Draft Plan has made some progress with this,
though the emphasis is not strong.
The positives of the plan are that there is a move towards ’20
minute neighbourhoods’ where people can work, shop access relevant facilities (including
green spaces) and link to public transport within a 20 minute walk - so
reducing transport carbon emissions and strengthening a sense of
community. There is new housing planned
but this is just about all on ‘brownfield’ sites apart from the old Norton Aerodrome
in south Sheffield which is currently designated Green Belt though that might
surprise anyone who has driven past that derelict site in the past 40 years!
The ’compactness’ of the plan (not allowing Sheffield to ‘sprawl’
in the way of many cities) is a plus, though linking together this land-use plan
with others for public transport, provision of amenities, improved/additional green
spaces is a ‘next step’. The South Yorkshire Climate Alliance and the Sheffield
& Rotherham Wildlife Trust have both held online events about the plan and Sheffield
City Council are offering in-person and online events to take comments. (See
all their websites for more info)
Top notes on the plan from the perspective of climate and
nature campaigners would be to a) be bolder in designating areas for greater
protection for nature and b) to strengthen the emphasis on sustainability in
housing and other buildings which might be granted planning permission over the
next 15 years.
The plan is an extensive document (140 pages, plus
appendices!) BUT it’s got a good index/signposting for you to just focus on the
bits you might be interested in – and this includes an interactive map where
you can look at your particular area and see what the land designation is going
to be over the next 15+ years.
You can comment on the plan (even just a single comment – you don’t have
to fill in every box!) by registering on the home page and taking it from
there. Every comment that says ‘strengthen reference to sustainability’ or ‘ensure
green spaces are extended and/or further protected’ makes the point to the
council that residents are bothered about these things!